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Army: Limits on observers’ border access

Posted by arnon_k On February - 28 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

The army plans to restrict access of neutral observers invited by Thai and Cambodian government to monitor the border to certain areas and information, citing national security reasons.

“We will have to restrict their access to classified information at some level . We are not going to let them see everything,’’ army commander-in-chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday.

Thailand and Cambodia agreed to invite Indonesia to deploy observers on both sides of the disputed border area at the Asean foreign ministerial meeting in Jakarta last week.

He said a detailed schedule of the observers’ visit is expected to be released after the Thai-Cambodia Joint Border Committee (JBC) meeting next month.

The Suranaree Task Force and the 2nd Army will then be commissioned to look into the details and take care of the matter.

“I want it [the Thai-Cambodian border conflict] to remain a bilateral issue and do not want any third country to step in, therefore imposing limits on access is needed,’’ Gen Prayuth said.

The commander-in-chief said the army must follow government policy and will heed the United Nation Security Council’s calls for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

A group of military and civilian observers from Indonesia, the current Asean chairman, will visit affected areas of the border to observe the commitment of both Thailand and its neighbour to avoid further hostilities.

The observers’ mandate is to assist and support the parties in respecting their commitment to avoid further fighting, by observing and reporting accurately and impartially complaints of violations and submitting findings to each party through Indonesia.

Prayuth says rebels hope to draw in OIC

Posted by arnon_k On February - 24 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Residents asked to act as army’s eyes and ears
Insurgents have intensified their attacks in the lower South in the hope of attracting the intervention of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, says army commander-in-chief Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Gen Prayuth left Bangkok yesterday to inspect the situation in the South.

The trip was part of a tour to observe the management of the branch office of the Internal Security Operations Command of the 4th Army Region.

He said he would look into the details of recent attacks, which often took place in urban community areas, and discuss possible solutions with the officials concerned.

Gen Prayuth said the army might have to go on the offensive and try harder to locate militants in hiding in the mountains and around towns.

A wave of major shooting and bomb attacks since the start of the year is being seen as an attempt by separatists to intensify the violence in a bid to highlight Thailand’s southern insurgency and draw the OIC’s attention. It is scheduled to meet in Kazakhstan in June.

“We will not fall for the [militants’] tricks,” the army chief said.

“We will do our best by invoking the law and by solving our own internal problem.”

Gen Prayuth said tighter security measures would be implemented. He called for more residents of the South to become the eyes and ears of the state.

However, the army is concerned for the safety of people who might be harmed by insurgents for cooperating with authorities. The commander-in-chief said the army was handling the insurgency problem through a multi-dimensional approach using the justice system, military strategies and development projects.

It is also continuing to build an understanding with people on issues such as history, ethnicity and religion.

But the more progress officials make and the more support they gain from local people, the more militants will intensify their attacks.

The army chief said more surveillance cameras must be installed as they could help identify rebels perpetrating violence.

Meanwhile, police have linked a key member of the militant Runda Kumpulan Kecil separatist movement to Monday’s motorcycle bomb attack in Yala in which 18 people were injured.

The man was identified as Aumran Ming, an RKK group leader who lives in Narathiwat’s Rangae district, said provincial police chief Chaitat Inthanujit.

Mr Aumran is wanted for involvement in many violent attacks against authorities and civilians since 2003.

He is thought to have set off a car bomb at a restaurant in Yala in 2009 that injured 43 people, Pol Maj Gen Chaitat said.

Army: Special law needed in South

Posted by arnon_k On January - 25 - 2011 1 COMMENT

Special laws should be imposed in the southern border provinces to address the continuing violence in the region, national army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday.

“If people don’t obey the law and use loopholes in the law to carry out illegal activities, a special law is needed,” Gen Prayuth said.

There are still insurgents in the far South and they are ready to use force against authorities at all times. The soldiers do not want to see people hurt so it would depend on how much they can protect themselves, he said.

“We must be fair with security personnel [working in the deep South] since they have to protect their own lives.

“It takes a long time for the insurgents to bravely pick up weapons and fight against officials. Soldiers also need time to create a mutual understanding with the local people.

“The army went to the region in 2004 and they have endured since then. The locals now know that soldiers will not hurt them and the people are willing to welcome them,” the army chief said.

He said cooperation between the public and soldiers in the region had significantly increased.

He said many people suggested the army to study how foreign countries, such as countries in Europe, deal with similar problems. However, those countries took 10 to 20 years to solve the problems by using special laws.

Media in foreign countries were not allowed to take pictures until officials tidied up the crime scenes. Everything had regulations, he said.

“In our country, most of the laws are not being enforced because everyone wants freedom and rights. They reject curfews. But foreign countries can impose all laws and they have been able to solve their problems,” he said.

No commanders wanted to see their subordinates or the general public hurt or killed. The security measures were not intended to create more violence, he said.

“Soldiers are trained to look after the people, not to seek benefits from the people,” he said.

He called on people to give moral support to the soldiers instead of denouncing them when a violent incident occurred.

First Army’s new war room

Posted by arnon_k On January - 13 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

A new, modern war room has been built at the First Army Region headquarters to be used as a command post to cope with situations both in border areas and internal political crises, a military source said.

The source said the new war room was built on the order of Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, the army chief, when he took the post in October last year.

Gen Prayuth is of the opinion that since the First Army Region headquarters commands main army units which are located both in Bangkok and the entire Central Region, it should have a war room with modern communication equipment.

The First Army Region headquarters is also where the army chief and senior government figures hold a meeting to monitor situations and give orders at times of political unrest especially activities of protesters of different colour codes.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, who is in charge of security affairs, frequently used the First Army headquarters as a situation monitoring centre, apart from the army headquarters.

The new war room is located on the 5th floor of the First Army Region headquarters. It is where a remote conference can be held via a satellite with all border defence forces including the Burapa Task Force which is responsible for the Thai-Cambodian border.

A large number of top brass including Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, Gen Prayuth, former army chief and First Army region commander Gen Anupong Paojinda, privy councillor Gen Pijit Kullavanijaya visited the new war room today when they joined a function marking the 101st anniversary of the establishment of the First Army.

They were received by Lt-Gen Udomdet Seetabut, the current First Army Region commander.

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